CWC elections anyone?
Congress leaders are more or less resigned to the fact that Rahul Gandhi will once again take over as party president at an appropriate date, which will be decided by Sonia Gandhi and him. (After all, it can be argued that even J.P. Nadda’s recent elevation as BJP president was more in nature of a nomination by the Big Two, rather than a democratic process.) However, what Congress leaders are concerned about is the lack of elections to the post of Congress Working Committee. The last time elections were held was during Narasimha Rao’s time in 1991; only to be dissolved when he realised that most of his detractors, such as Sharad Pawar, Arjun Singh and Rajesh Pilot had made it. Though he reconstituted the CWC with only nominated names, he could not leave them out. And that is what the CWC election does essentially—it throws up a hierarchy of leadership. Again in 1997, the elections were held during Sitaram Kesri’s tenure. A fierce contest saw Ahmed Patel, Jitendra Prasada, Sharad Pawar, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Madhavrao Scindia and Pranab Mukherjee elected. However, this show of strength and popularity within the party is also one reason why the top leadership is so wary of holding a CWC election, worried that it may throw up a No. 2 who may have the potential of becoming a No. 1. Again if one is to compare with the BJP then the party’s 11-member Parliamentary Board could be equivalent to the CWC, but this body is always “nominated” by the party president. But this has not been the case with the Congress CWC and there are senior leaders like Shashi Tharoor who have asked for an election, stating that holding internal polls will inject new energy in the party. But so far his advice remains one for the books.
It’s an open secret that the Governor’s office, though a Constitutional post, has always been a political appointee appointed by the ruling party to keep its interests in mind. The Congress when in power practised this and now it is clearly the BJP’s turn to do the same. But never has one seen so many Governors go public with their face-offs against non BJP Chief Ministers. From Jagdeep Dhankar in Bengal, to Kiran Bedi in Puducherry to Arif M. Khan in Kerala, to name a few, all are taking out their angst on television in a series on interviews (Dhankar and Arif) and on social media as well (Bedi). While this is great for transparency and democracy (especially in election going states) one wonders about the impact on Constitutional decorum.
Celebrating the Tricolour
Former Congress MP Navin Jindal celebrates 23 January every year as Flag Day to commemorate the Supreme Court judgement that allows every Indian the right to fly the flag (23 January 2004). This was in response to a petition filed by him when government officials refused to allow him to fly the flag on his factory premises citing the Flag Code of India. Jindal had then moved the High Court arguing that no law could forbid an Indian citizen from flying the national flag and, furthermore, the Flag Code of India was only a set of executive instructions from Government of India and therefore not law. To celebrate this landmark judgement, Jindal hosts an annual lunch on the lawns of his Prithviraj Road bungalow with classical music, delicious food for his friends and family. And of course everyone is given an Indian flag brooch to wear.
Touché Down Under
Last Sunday’s ODI between India and Australia made some great viewing, especially as India won with 7 wickets and 15 balls to spare. But more so because they got a chance to hammer Pat Cummins, who was recently bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for the 2020 IPL for a whopping Rs 15.5 crore, becoming the most expensive foreign buy ever at IPL. But Kohli and his boys had a fine day hammering at his bowling to show just what they thought of that (over hyped?) price tag. Neither did Cummins get a single wicket during the recent encounter, nor did he score a single run. Reckon there’s more of that coming his way before he steps into the “sweetest part of the country”.